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THE PLEADINGS AND ITS IMPORTANCE IN CIVIL CASES

In Ramrameshwari Devi & Ors. vs. Nirmala Devi & Ors, 2011 (6) SCALE 677 highlighting how frivolous litigations are being instituted and how these frivolous litigations are choking the stream of justice, with reference to importance of pleadings, in sub-para A of para 52 of the decision, the Supreme Court observed as under:- "A. Pleadings are foundation of the claims of parties. Civil litigation is largely based on documents. It is the bounden duty and obligation of the trial judge to carefully scrutinize, check and verify the pleadings and documents filed by the parties. This must be done immediately after suits are filed."


In Ram Sarup Gupta (Dead) by LRs vs. Bishun Narain Inter College & Ors 1987 (2) SCC 555, highlighting the object and purpose of pleadings, in para 6, the Supreme Court observed as under:- "6. The object and purpose of pleading is to enable the adversary party to know the case it has to meet. In order to have a fair trial it is imperative that the party should settle the essential material facts so that the other party may not be taken by surprise."

In D.M. Deshpande & Ors vs. Janardhan Kashinath Kadam & Ors AIR 1999 SC 1464 , in paras 9 and 11, the Supreme Court highlighted that a vague plea does not justify an issue being framed and further, where no material in support of a plea has been set up anywhere in any form, the Court would be justified in not settling an issue requiring the parties to traverse the torturous path of a trial. In said case, the Supreme Court observed qua claim for tenancy that in the absence of a concise statement of material facts relating to the tenancy, the mere raising of a plea of tenancy is not enough for the purpose of raising an issue. The Court cautioned against a pedantic approach to the problem and directed that Courts must ascertain the substance of the pleading and not the form, in order to determine the same. It was observed that pertaining to a claim of tenancy, the exact nature of the right which is claimed is to be set-forth and no issue pertaining to existence of tenancy could be framed on a vague plea.

In A. Shanmugam vs. Ariya Kshatriya Rajakula Vamsathu Madalaya Nandhavana Paripalanai Sangam 2012 (6) SCALE 340 it was held as under:- "27. The pleadings must set-forth sufficient factual details to the extent it reduces the ability to put forward a false or exaggerated claim or defence. The pleadings must inspire confidence and credibility. If false averments, evasive denials or false denials are introduced, then the Court must carefully look into it while deciding a case and insist that those who approach the Court must approach it with clean hands."


Maria Margarida Sequeria Fernandes vs. Erasmo Jack de Sequeria 2012 (5) SCC 370 the Supreme Court held as under:-
"72. The Court will examine the pleadings for specificity as also the supporting material for sufficiency and then pass appropriate orders.
74. If the pleadings do not give sufficient details, they will not raise an issue, and the Court can reject claim or pass decree on admission. On vague pleadings, no issue arises. Only when he so establishes, does the question of framing an issue arise. Framing of issues is an extremely important stage in a civil trial. Judges are expected to carefully examine the pleadings and documents before framing of issues in a given case.
78. The Court must ensure that the pleadings of a case must contain sufficient particulars. Insistence on details reduces the ability to put forward a non-existent or false claim or defence."

NO AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE OR ARGUMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF PLEADINGS CAN BE GONE INTO BY THE COURT

In Trojan & Co. Ltd. V. Rm. N. N. Nagappa Chettiar, AIR 1953 SC 235, the Supreme Court held that decisions cannot be founded on grounds outside the pleadings and what has to be considered or granted is the case pleaded. It was also held that without amendment of the pleading in light of facts disclosed or discovered subsequently, the Court would not be entitled to modify or alter the relief claimed. This was based on a previous ruling of the Privy Council in Mahant Govind Rao v. Sita Ram Kesho and Ors., (1898) 25 IA 195 (PC). These rulings were subsequently followed in Ram Kumar Barnwal
v. Ram Lakhan (dead), 2007 (5) SCC 660.

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